BLOG: Meeke & Evans: The new Golden Era of British Rallying?
"It's one for Colin" said 35-year-old Irishman Kris Meeke celebrating with raw emotion, choked tears and joy after he nailed down his first ever WRC win at the car-killer that is Rally Argentina this weekend in his tough Citroën Total Abu Dhabi World Rally Team DS3.
And to top off an outstanding event for British rallying, Welshman Elfyn Evans also bagged a podium spot, taking P3 in his M-Sport Fiesta, behind the second placed Citroen driver, Mads Ostberg, rounding off a great weekend for the French brand, with a 1-2.
But never mind that!!! What a result for UK rallying!
Not since the heydays of McRae Vs Burns has their been such excitement and a buzz around the Parc fermés and indeed the glorious motorsport of rallying here in the UK... it's just the battle and result what everyone has been hoping and waiting for.
And to put the milestone into perspective... this is the first British WRC win for over a decade (since Safari Rally 2002 with McRae) and the first time two British WRC drivers have been on the podium for well over a decade (since Rally New Zealand 2001 with McRae & Burns). Meek joins Roger Clark, Colin McRae and Richard Burns now in a very exclusive club.
After coming so close to a win in Finland and Argentina in 2013 and crashing out of the lead on Germany in 2014, on the finish line as a winner in Argentina this year Kris Meeke said: "What can I say... it's been an exceptionally long road..."
He then broke down with the raw emotion of it all. No surprise. He's taken 14 years to get to this point.
The emotion pouring our of him, Kris continued: "And the one guy who's done it most is not here. This one's for Colin."
Was there a dry eye in British rallying? Not for anyone who knew Colin anyhow...
And Welsh rising star, Elfyn Evans said: "It's been a crazy rally with so much drama so it feels great to have made it through with such a positive result. We didn't come here expecting a podium, so it really is a fantastic feeling which probably hasn't quite sunk in yet!"Our plan was to air on the side of caution. We wanted to improve on last year, but we also wanted a mistake-free run which seems to have been the best strategy. The team provided me with an absolutely perfect car from start to finish, and we are here at the end because of that.
"I have to say hats off to Kris [Meeke] and Paul [Nagle] too. They did an absolutely incredible job this weekend. They were the fastest crew from the start and really controlled it from there on in. It's a great result for them, and a great result for British rallying."
Speak it in hushed tones, but this could well be a return of the golden era of UK rallying – especially if Citroen, Hyundai and Ford can take on the mighty VW.
So very well done Kris & Elfyn. We are proud of you... and so would Colin & Richard be.
Now let's see a two-way scrap for victory in Wales and we'll all be happy! ;-)